Outdoor activities instructor
Outdoor activities instructors lead trips and teach skills in activities like hill walking, climbing, canoeing, skiing and snowboarding.
1. Entry requirements
You’ll need to be at least 18 (21 to drive a minibus), and you’ll usually need:
- a skill in at least one outdoor activity
- coaching or instructor qualifications approved by the relevant national governing body (NGB) for each of your sports or activities
- a first aid certificate
- a life-saving certificate if you instruct water-based activities
It may also help if you’ve been involved in activities, like:
- Duke of Edinburgh awards
- membership of activity clubs
- volunteering at outdoor activities centres
- youth work, teaching, sports coaching or training
- physical training instruction in the armed forces
You could get into this job through an apprenticeship.
You’ll also need an enhanced background check which your employer will arrange for you.
The Institute for Outdoor Learning and Skills Active have more information on becoming an outdoor activities instructor.
2. Skills required
You’ll need to be able to:
- lead and manage groups of people
- give clear instructions and explanations
- inspire confidence and give encouragement
- remain calm in difficult or dangerous situations
- deal with challenging behaviour
3. What you'll do
- activities to help people enjoy their leisure time
- team-building training exercises for workplaces
- activity courses for disadvantaged young people
Your day-to-day duties might include:
- planning and preparing activities
- explaining, advising on and demonstrating activities
- instructing in specialist areas, like sailing or climbing
- making sure all equipment and facilities are safe
- explaining safety procedures
Checking weather conditions, assessing hazards and managing risks.
You may also have to deal with accidents, and support people who may be nervous about taking part in activities.
Highly Experienced: £30,000 (senior instructor, expedition leader or manager)
Accommodation and food may be provided.
These figures are a guide.
5. Working hours, patterns and environmentYou’ll usually work long, irregular hours, including evenings, weekends and public holidays.
The work is physically demanding, and involves being outside in all weather conditions, often in remote areas.
You’ll work in open countryside, rugged terrain and urban activity centres like dry ski slopes, indoor climbing walls and canals.
Courses and expeditions will often involve staying away from home, sometimes camping.
6. Career path and progressionYou could work on contract, or do freelance work.
With experience, you could progress to centre management, or set up your own activity centre.
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Last updated: 29 June 2018
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